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Thread: Tracking the Palantiri

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A few years ago now, over the course of a couple of posts in another thread, I pieced together a rough outline on the history of the palantiri. For some time now, I had been thinking about condensing the material from those posts into a singular, more complete version. The following is intended (for anyone who might be interested) to be a general, and quick reference to the classification, and eventual whereabouts of each of the 8 palantiri, with a specific emphasis placed on the seven brought to Middle Earth by Elendil during the time of the Downfall of Numenor.

The palantiri or “those that watch from afar” were the eight Seeing Stones made by Feanor in Aman. One of the eight known as the “Masterstone” has never left Aman, and resides in the Tower of Avallone upon Eressea. The remaining seven were given to the Numenorians as gifts from the Eldar.

At the time of the Downfall of Numenor, Elendil had the faithful load the Seven Stones on one of the nine ships they used to escape the destruction of Numenor. When the faithful arrived in Middle Earth, the Seven Stones were divided. Elendil took three, and his sons Isildur, and Anarion each took two.

The three Elendil took into his possession were placed at Emyn Beraid, Amon Sul (aka Weathertop), and Annuminas. The four taken collectively by his two sons were placed at Minas Ithil (later to become Minas Morgul), Minas Anor (later Minas Tirith), Orthanc, and Osgiliath. Tolkien refers to three of these Seven Stones being “major”, and the other four as being “minor” Stones, and it’s in this way that I’ve attempted to address what happened to each.

The 3 “major” Stones are listed as being the Osgiliath-Stone, the Stone at Amon Sul, and the Stone that was located at Eymn Beraid. Tolkien lists the Osgiliath-Stone as being the “Master Stone” of the seven that were brought to M.E. This palantir is listed as being lost in T.A. 1437 in the Anduin when Osgiliath was burned during the civil war of the Kin-strife (appendices of ROTK, page 405). The Stone of Amon Sul was lost in T.A. 1975 in the shipwreck of Arvedui (along with the Stone of Annuminas). The Stone that was located at Eymn Beraid (or Elendil-Stone), was unlike the others, and was not in accord with them. This Stone looked only to the sea. Kept extremely secret it was never lost, and was maintained in a tower guarded by Cirdan, and the Elves of Lindon. It is said that Cirdan put this Stone aboard Elrond’s ship when he left for the Undying Lands.

Tolkien lists the four “minor" Stones as being the Stone of Orthanc, the Anor-Stone, the Ithil-Stone, and the Stone of Annuminas. The Ithil-Stone was captured in T.A. 2002 by Sauron’s forces in the fall of Minas Ithil. This is the Stone that Sauron possessed during the time of The War of the Ring. This Stone was never found again, and it's believed that this Stone perished in the ruin of Barad-dur. The Stone of Annuminas, as already briefly mentioned, was lost in T.A. 1437 with the Stone from Amon Sul. After the destruction of Amon Sul by Angmar in T. A. 1409, both Stones were then placed at Fornost, where the King of Arthedain lived, it was in this way that the two were together when they were lost in the shipwreck of Arvedui.

The Stone of Orthanc, and the Anor-Stone were never lost (for more precise info, please see the chapter on The Palantiri in UT). The Anor-Stone resided in Minas Tirith (and was the one used by Denethor). Proof that the Anor-Stone survived the burning of Denethor is provided on page 131 of ROTK;

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And it was said that ever after, if any man looked in that Stone, unless he had a great strength of will to turn it to other purpose, he saw only two aged hands withering in flame.


Obviously, the Orthanc-Stone resided at the tower of Orthanc. Forgotten about for quite sometime (though not by Saruman), this is the Stone that both Saruman, and Aragorn gazed into. Since Aragorn was their rightful heir, both of these Stones were in his possession once he became king (although, as we know, Aragorn possessed the Orthanc-Stone before he was actually crowned the new King of Gondor).
Read Smilie
Made a nice reading that. Thanks for the brief description of the Palantiri. Has all the basic essentials. But it seems that you have taken to calling Saruman as Saurman (I would have called him Sourman)
Well done Elfy! Orc With Thumbs Up Smilie I don't know how I missed this thread in the past, but thanks to Lord_aragorn86 I've now found it, and we can now stick a fork into it, for that just about wraps it up for the Palantiri.

And ignore the remarks about the typing error: we all know our spellcheckers don't come with any of the Tolkienesque words correctly spelled. Happy Elf Smilie
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Made a nice reading that. Thanks for the brief description of the Palantiri. Has all the basic essentials. But it seems that you have taken to calling Saruman as Saurman (I would have called him Sourman)


Thanks man, and thanks for pointing out the spelling error (which I have now fixed), I just accidentally confused the Sar spelling with the Saur spelling of something like for example, Sauron and hadn't yet noticed.

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I don't know how I missed this thread in the past, but thanks to Lord_aragorn86 I've now found it, and we can now stick a fork into it, for that just about wraps it up for the Palantiri.


You know what I’ve noticed Grondy, over the course of the past few months, anytime I create a new thread, it doesn’t show up. My responses show when I post in an existing thread, but again, not when I create a new one, and that’s probably why you missed until LA86 was the first person to respond.

Anyway, like I said, this post is just a more complete, condensed, singular version made up of a couple of old posts I had put together a while back, it’s pretty comprehensive though, and hopefully will make for an interesting read for some other folks down the line.
Elf Winking Smilie
Funny enough, I noticed the post when it was first posted, but it was so complete, I couldn't think of anything to add at the time. I think it's come to life at last because someone enquired about the Palantir stones in the Weathertop thread, and I posted a link to this one in response.

I'll say now what I maybe should have said in January... Very nice thread Elfie Orc With Thumbs Up Smilie
Isn't this description of the Palantiri a copy of one of the chapters of the appendices of LOTR ?
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Isn't this description of the Palantiri a copy of one of the chapters of the appendices of LOTR ?


Hardly, nice try though, and thanks for the laugh btw! Big Laugh Smilie Elf Rolling Eyes Smilie
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Hardly, nice try though, and thanks for the laugh btw!

Glad i could help ! Big Smile Smilie
And now we all contemplate how it would be to live the life of a person who does these things....
And interesting one no doubt!!! At least you don't randomly hand-letter 'Mythopoeia' in Carolingian Italic script. (Beginners' calligraphy script)

That really helped my history of the palantiri. (I didn't even know all the places they resided before reading this)
Thank you Elfstone ! i found the thread most interesting ! loved reading it !
This was really a great read. How do you know so much?

Thanks >^..^<
Very nice. One question though...

Do you think anyone could every recover the lost seeing stones? I guess another question stems from that...were there Middle-Earth treasure hunters?
I'm guessing there weren't many or they'd have been hired to pursue the One Ring. Though I do have an idea for a short I've been kicking around, one involving the idea of the fell fires of Orodruin being uncorrupted of themselves, but their powers effects turned to foul purposes by Sauron. After all, we know Maedhros plunged into a volcano with his Silmaril....

My question is why the Elendil stone, which was locked to gaze toward Eressea (or Avallone as it's rightly called here) would be placed on the ship journeying there. Why have the stone that can only look at Eressea IN Eressea? I know it's canon, but it seems odd.
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Do you think anyone could every recover the lost seeing stones? I guess another question stems from that...were there Middle-Earth treasure hunters?

Sure, after the Fourth Age came the Hyborian Age and Middle-earth was filled with treasure hunters. The fiercest of them all was Conan the Barbarian, who singlehandedly pillaged an entire kingdom.
Followed by Heinrich Schliemann in the 19th century, Howard Carter in the 20th, and Lara Croft in both the 20th and 21st. Not to mention Cohen the Barbarian and his motley band of Heros. Elf With a Big Grin Smilie
Completely missed that one. Hi everyone, it's been a LONG time since i've been back here (almost two years) but it's good to see this site is still spectacular.